A middle aged restaurateur begins to feel the desire to roam and realizes that one day each week, his mother's apartment will be empty all afternoon. He makes several attempts at seduction,...
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A middle aged restaurateur begins to feel the desire to roam and realizes that one day each week, his mother's apartment will be empty all afternoon. He makes several attempts at seduction, only to learn that it is much more complicated and difficult than he could have imagined.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The length of time that Barney Cashman (Alan Arkin) had been married before he decided to go on dates and embark on a big romantic affair was 22 years. The number 22 had already been significant for Arkin as he had just recently starred in Catch-22 (1970). See more »
Neil Simon scripted this film version of his play, in which an almost constantly flustered Alan Arkin plays Barney Cashman. Barney is a middle-aged owner of a fish restaurant who feels rather dissatisfied with his ordinary life. He mistakenly thinks that the way to inject some spice is to have an extramarital affair, and as fate would have it, his mothers' apartment is vacant one afternoon a week. He meets with a succession of women whom he tries his mightiest to seduce: Elaine (Sally Kellerman), a cynical, unemotional sexpot with a very direct approach, Bobbi (Paula Prentiss), an air head, obnoxious entertainer, and his own friend Jeanette (Renee Taylor), a cuckolded wife suffering from melancholia.
Directed by Gene Saks, this never really comes off as cinema but more a photographed play, even with a number of outside shots. As such, it's very reliant on characterization and dialogue, and it proves to be fairly watchable. The performances, especially from Arkin, are basically stage performances that come across as over the top on film. And it's kind of hard to care all that much about this average-Joe schmuck in the lead role, and why he feels so compelled to cheat on his wife. The sequence with Kellerman tends to be the most amusing; she's fantastic in her role. Prentiss is a little much; her character could definitely be annoying to some viewers. Taylor is fine, but this woman she's playing will likely be a matter of personal taste: can a miserable person with self-esteem issues be all that funny under these circumstances?
Simon, of course, does come up with some entertaining lines of dialogue, and admittedly, Arkins' reaction to getting "stoned" is a hoot as Prentiss convinces him to try marijuana.
Fans of Simon and the cast will likely be a lot more forgiving than the average viewer.
Six out of 10.
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